One of the biggest changes this week by the CDC is that masks will no longer be required on cruises that have at least 95% of passengers vaccinated. Of course, guests can still choose to wear one around the ship but they will not be required. Also, cruise lines can bring back self service buffets on these cruises as well.
The four biggest biggest changes to mask requirements for passengers and crew members are as follows from the CDC’s website:
1. For ships with at least 95% of crew and 95% of passengers fully vaccinated, cruise ship operators, at their discretion, may advise passengers and crew that they do not have to wear a mask or maintain physical distance in any areas.
2. Cruise ship operators, at their discretion, may designate areas as only accessible to fully vaccinated passengers and crew where masks and physical distancing are not required (e.g., casinos; bars; spas; entertainment venues; and dining areas, including self-serve buffets).
3. Cruise ship operators, at their discretion, may advise passengers and crew that—if they are fully vaccinated—they may gather or conduct activities outdoors, including engaging in extended meal service or beverage consumption, without wearing a mask.
4. Cruise ship operators, at their discretion, may advise crew who are fully vaccinated that they do not have to wear a mask or maintain physical distance in areas of the ship that are inaccessible to passengers.
It is important to note that all four of these guidelines are at each cruise lines discretion so they can choose whether or not to allow each of the four points.